Note to Self

No matter how wildly successful, moderately successful, or utterly unsuccessful I am in the future as a business woman, I'm going to be kind to whoever come to seek my opinion. I will tell them the truth, but I will deliver it in the nicest possible way, because there's no word to sum up the journey of the person who's doing his/her own "thing" then it's so _______ hard.  

Defying the Gravity of Time

The hardest question I face with everyday is time. The beauty of time and the complexity of time. Time is such a beauty because you always grow as a person, and when you look back the growth and achievement only comes with time-lapsed efforts you've put in. Time is also so complex because often times you're not just faced with your own timeline but also the timeline of those you love and the timeline of those expectations you and your loved ones have for you. 

I call my parents every day during the week, and I call my grandparents once every week or so. 24 hours passed and I call my parents the next day. My progress for my startup brand never seems to run fast enough to report any good news at that hour. We're always trying to impress our parents and make them proud, but they're only getting older by day. Although we are as well, growing old in your late 50's just seems so much more visually obvious than growing old in your late 20's, at least from our perspective. 

How do we defy the gravity of time? Measuring your progress in 24 hour time frame is simply too discouraging I realized (with this thinking exercise). Looking back at the longer period of time gives you a better look at the true progress you've made, and positive reinforcement is always such a treasure we should hold on to when paving your own road ahead.  

My Love Hate Relationship with Dover Street Market NYC

My love hate relationship with Dover Street Market NYC started with my first visit the summer of last year (August 2015), and then again in February 2016. Now that we've officially moved to New York, I can't wait to check out what they have in store for all the coming seasons. 

Ok, so this is me doing market research for my dream fashion real estate project, so I came in with a relatively observant and hopefully objective perspective. A few things I noticed... 

Not a lot of people are actually making purchases, despite their uniquely and delightfully curated merchandise, and even more inspiring and expensively decorated displays. I personally think it is because:

  1. The layout/flow of the whole building: It is a narrow rectangular building with an elevator built in the middle, so from where you first enter the door to the center elevator is literally less than 4 steps and you are either forced to turn left or right, with a friendly (but still stranger nonetheless) store associate in between, and this is one of the most awkward entrance I've ever had to make at any store. Then you meander up the stairs/elevator (I recommend taking the stairs, much faster and more relaxing, you will know what I mean) to visit all 7 floors;
  2. Designer selection vs. price point: They stock a bunch of great designers, both established and getting noticed, and everything they have is either a wow in creativity or wow in quality. However, I believe that because most people haven't heard of the newer brands, they will be less likely to make purchases the first time. If they have heard of the brand, they may highly doubt the price markup here at the store vs. the potential discount online (at whichever platform their resourceful self can find), so there's hesitant to purchase here as well. Of course I'm ruling out people who are nonelastic to price;
  3. Stuffiness of the store: Again, it comes down to the combination of the store layout design and the generally high price point (small percentage intro products) that the whole walk through the store experience seem a little stiff/stuffy with store associates walking around in the small space with. They are great, but generally there's just this sense of uncomfortableness flowing through the store. And I'm sure the store associate feels the same too. 

Ok, but now from a subjective perspective purely out of my heart - I love this place! Certainly it's a little bit stuffier than I like. I should remind myself to dress up a little more next time to fit in quietly. I love perusing all their interior designs - I personally even think I love seeing their creative displays slightly more than their well-curated products. I think, basically if you're a tourist (which I always feel like being a tourist no matter where I go) you will likely stand out really quickly. Not a big deal, but I highly recommend getting over the uncomfortable feel, because a visit to this store is certainly worth it! In conclusion, I will definitely visit again and again to see if they've updated their interior decor. Also, can't wait to visit their other locations in London, Tokyo, and Beijing!

Ps. If you like these kind of concept stores as well, then you must visit Seoul! They are literally the pioneer in all these mix-concept stores. Will need to do a few posts on them later then. 

(1) Bird view of parts of their 3rd floor I believe. Look at those beautiful floral arrangements in clear glass. (2) They built a purple cave to welcome you down the stairs, amazing. (3) They have a flower wall, which makes me feel like I'm in the self portrait of Frida Kahlo.

(1) Bird view of parts of their 3rd floor I believe. Look at those beautiful floral arrangements in clear glass. (2) They built a purple cave to welcome you down the stairs, amazing. (3) They have a flower wall, which makes me feel like I'm in the self portrait of Frida Kahlo.

(Unintentional) Eavesdropping at Coffee Shops

I love (unintentionally) eavesdropping when I work at coffee shops! Intentional or unintentional, maybe there's a blur line... But when seats are so close together, and when I'm working alone not immersing in any conversations, it's really hard to not hear what the conversation next table is about. Some people find hearing conversations at coffee shops quite bothersome, but I find it so inspiring!

And it is part of the reason why I love working at coffee shops. Which reminds me, if you happen to know any good coffee shops you like to work at in San Francisco, please share with us in the comments below! So far, my favorite one in the city is Mazarine Coffee. Really stylish interior decor and some really strong pour overs (and some wonderful breakfast/lunch/snacks) makes this newly opened coffee shop a really rare find. Oh, and fast wi-fi.

Anyways, back to the inspiring eavesdropping. I was just sitting at Mazarine Coffee the other day working for a brief 2 hours. Four conversations went on between the 2 tables to the right and left of me in those time frame. I heard this lady engineer/entrepreneur talking about wanting to mentor more at this women specific accelerator, and her friend a guy entrepreneur recommended another women specific co-work space somewhere.

I don't remember the details, because I was trying hard not to hear them. Aka. not to eavesdrop, because I think it's a bit creepy and odd. But just hearing bits and pieces, gives me so many ideas and inspirations of things outside of my daily routine and things I could do or explore next. The conversation to my right was on raising funds and being introduced in the VC world. The other two that sat down after them seemed to be b-school graduates sharing thoughts on their startup jobs post school. And by the last two people, I have really gotten used to not listening despite the sounds (to actually get some work done), but I think they simply talked about life and love. 

All of these bits and pieces somehow reminded me of how beautiful life is. This city and this world. It seems odd, but working at coffee shops really pull me out of my self-absorbed project to-do-list and goal checklists, where I always forget there is this beautiful life besides checking off my boxes and getting to the next steps. Or, do you think I'm just too highly caffeinated? 

As always, didn't get to take a picture related to the post, so you get a selfie of me. Selfie - 490 Post Street, going to see the eye doctor. Loving their old school building and old school elevator. 

As always, didn't get to take a picture related to the post, so you get a selfie of me. Selfie - 490 Post Street, going to see the eye doctor. Loving their old school building and old school elevator. 

Basic Breakfast

Do you make the most Basic Breakfast everyday? I love it. If there's a version of BASIC for breakfast, I think this would be it. Doesn't matter, I could eat this all day everyday. 

Avocado + Fried Egg + Pita
1/2 avocado, sliced
1 fried egg (with slightly running yolk ideally)
1 mini pita of some sort (I prefer the slightly thicker ones)
maybe sprinkle some sea salt or black pepper

Kiwi + Yellow Bell Pepper + Soy Milk smoothie
1 kiwi cut in chunks
1/2 yellow bell pepper cut up
2/3 cup of soy milk
1/3 cup of water
throw in blender

buongiorno!

buongiorno!

What to Wear to the Next Wedding Party, Summer 2016 Edition

Flying back to San Francisco this weekend for a dear friend's wedding in Sonoma. This is our 5th wedding of this year. I love going to weddings - there are so much love and as guests, we are so privileged to simply celebrate and enjoy (very relaxingly) all the hard planning the bride and groom put in for the entire year prior (extra appreciation from those who's planned a wedding themselves definitely). 

Wedding guest fashion comes into play. I always thinks it's a gesture of respect to really dress well to all the weddings we're going to. And of course, this is such an amazing excuse to dress up for a weekend of partying. And of course, I don't have anything to wear for this weekend.

Since I'm on a startup budget (and still conserving cash to pay for my inventory), and I had a relatively tough working day today emotionally, let's take a break and do 10 minute online window shopping to find a few great wedding guest outfits!

wear to: very casual beach wedding Three Graces London | Cephale striped cotton dress | $435

wear to: very casual beach wedding
Three Graces London | Cephale striped cotton dress | $435

wear to: sunny summer outdoor wedding Needle & Thread | Crochet-trimmed embellished embroidered crepe mini dress | $570

wear to: sunny summer outdoor wedding
Needle & Thread | Crochet-trimmed embellished embroidered crepe mini dress | $570

wear to: in door elegant but edgy wedding Self-Portrait | Amelia lace-paneled crepe de chine midi dress| $495

wear to: in door elegant but edgy wedding
Self-Portrait | Amelia lace-paneled crepe de chine midi dress| $495

wear to: an extravagantly decorated wedding Camilla | Espiritu lace-trimmed printed silk dress | $850

wear to: an extravagantly decorated wedding
Camilla | Espiritu lace-trimmed printed silk dress | $850

wear to: a hipster wedding Ganni | Floral-print silk crepe de chine maxi dress | $530

wear to: a hipster wedding
Ganni | Floral-print silk crepe de chine maxi dress | $530

wear to: an indoor formal wedding Anna Sui | Printed fil coupé silk-blend chiffon dress | $765

wear to: an indoor formal wedding
Anna Sui | Printed fil coupé silk-blend chiffon dress | $765

Oh and this is what I wore to another dear friend's wedding two weeks ago in a redwood forest venue at Santa Cruz.  

Brought a light weight Stella McCartney scarves with me. Been using this blue leopard print scarf forever, one of my favorite scarves of all time. Always super useful to bring a large light weight cashmere scarves with you. 

Wearing an old Zara maxi dress. Actually looks better in pictures than in real life - the blue is a bit too light for my skin tone. But really appropriate for this kind of wedding, what do you think? 

Startup Capital in 3 Bullet Points

Learnt about this from one of an older gentleman who has done a few of his own businesses (successfully), and now in his sixties. I always love to talk to any older men/women, and I always appreciate how they are willing to share and distill their lifelong lessons into a few sentences (and often in the most brutally honest yet warmly humorous way).

This is what he said regarding startup capital…
(1) you use your parent’s money to start your first venture. You will be done with the cash really quickly (depending on how deep their pockets are), and then
(2) you try to get the capital from friends and family (in however way you can, most likely by bluffing and not telling the utmost truth about your prospect), and once you survive that
(3) you then go somewhere to get real investor money.

And, if you fail in building your first venture with your parental/friends/family money, then his advice is you go back to work as fast as you can. Because you’re not ready, but you will be.

And by the way, he is super pro for “kids” (in his words) starting entrepreneurial ventures these days. This is the age to do so, as he calls it.

Love truly honest, and sometimes slightly brutal, advice always.

In 2014, when I received my first shipment of products to our (small) apartment. Thought this applies very much to the first stage of startup capital. Parental support.

In 2014, when I received my first shipment of products to our (small) apartment. Thought this applies very much to the first stage of startup capital. Parental support.

Olympics Memories, v2016 Rio

I only started watching The Olympics when I started going out with Nicky, so each one is quite memorable. In 2008, we watched the Olympics China opening ceremony in Nicky's small dorm living room/his room; 2012 we watched the London opening ceremony in Nicky's corporate housing in New York, which marks our first move to New York; and 2016 we're watching Rio opening ceremony in our newly moved in New York apartment.

Watching the Olympics always inspires me, just like watching the Hall of Fames and The Academy Awards. All these talents finally having their more than well deserved seconds of world fame, and we luckily will be having a glimpse of their astonishing hard work and even more inspiring faith and beliefs in themselves. 

Some random notes: 

  • The opening ceremony. Really love the creative combination of history and singing/dancing, and the honest look and celebration of both the diversity and the current issues in the world. 
  • Love all the commercials in between, especially the ones with individual or multiple athlete's stories told, the thank you mom series, and that nation wide song singer series. Haven't had TV for 4 years, and almost forgot how awesome TV commercials could be. 
  • Tears - I see so much tears from these winning athletes, and I always can't help but feel moved by their emotions. I also think it's the power of tens of thousands of Olympics goers. When so many people gather to celebrate your talent, it's simply powerful. 
  • All these kisses amongst the loving parents of these kid athletes. Cutest things ever. Maybe (hopefully) this is the new trend.   
  • And really, nothing is impossible.
Underarmour store at SOHO broadcasting the Olympics game live! 

Underarmour store at SOHO broadcasting the Olympics game live! 

New York City, Q3 2016

We landed JFK on Sunday, July 31st, 2016 at 3:40pm, and our second move to New York has officially begun! This is our second time moving to New York, and this time we may be staying a bit longer than 12 months. Four years ago, Nicky and I moved to New York for me to be closer to the fashion industry and to begin my dream of starting something of my own. A year passed really quickly in New York, and we moved back to San Francisco again for Nicky's new job and for my new entrepreneurial ventures. Now, we're moving back again for Nicky's next career move.

The second time moving to this city adds such charm to this magical city. It feels so familiar yet so new, so bustling yet so relaxing, and so rich yet so diverse. Basically, New York is so New York, and I almost forgot that feeling. Right now I'm just very looking forward to finally settling down and beginning our new routine in this seemingly never resting city. 

Left: Furniture delivery date, so excited to not sit on the floor anymore!  Right: Picking up some pieces from CB2 and waiting for UberXL to the rescue.

Left: Furniture delivery date, so excited to not sit on the floor anymore! 
Right: Picking up some pieces from CB2 and waiting for UberXL to the rescue.